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    Don’t let ED get in the way of some festive fun

    On this page
    1. Why ED might be worse over the festive period
    2. Alcohol and erectile dysfunction
    3. Diet and erectile dysfunction
    4. Can stress lead to erectile dysfunction?
    5. Managing ED

    3 baubles hanging on dark green background

    With the festive season fast approaching, some of us will be spending lots of quality time with our loved ones. Whether you’re snuggled up on the sofa in front of a Christmas film or sipping mulled wine, Christmas is definitely a time for romance. 

    While the idea of a romantic night with our other half might fill some of us with excitement. For people who experience erectile dysfunction (ED) or have a partner who experiences the condition, a romantic night in might be a little daunting. Busy schedules and overindulging can also make managing your ED more difficult. It can also cause the condition to crop up for people who’ve not experienced it before. 

    We conducted a survey* on 1,500 UK males to reveal how ED affects them over the festive period.

    The study reveals 43% of men have experienced ED over the festive season and this number rises to almost half (49%) for those aged 25-34.

    ED (sometimes called impotence) can affect men at all different ages, and it’s a very common condition, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re here for you with some info on what might make your ED worse over the festive period, and how to manage this. 

    Why ED might be worse over the festive period

    The causes of ED are varied. It can be due to physical, psychological and lifestyle factors, or a combination of the three.

    • Physical factors include high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes. 
    • Psychological factors include stress, trauma, depression and relationship troubles. 
    • Lifestyle factors include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not being active and drug use

    Over Christmas some of the psychological and lifestyle factors that cause ED might be made worse. Lots of us are likely to indulge in rich food and drink. Spending more time with family and the financial strain of Christmas presents might put pressure on a relationship. 

    While 26% of respondents have experienced ED more than once, a further 17% of those who have experienced ED over Christmas, have never experienced ED before apart from over Christmas. Meanwhile 36% of those aged 25-34 have never experienced ED before, apart from over Christmas.

    Alcohol and erectile dysfunction

    Drinking too much can lead to ED. When you’ve had a lot to drink, your experience of your senses is dulled. This might make it harder to feel sexually aroused and get an erection. 

    73% of respondents plan to drink alcohol over the festive season with a further 41% of men admitting they drink more than usual during this period.

    Drinking too much alcohol (more than 14 units a week) over an extended period of time can also cause ED. Alcohol slows and prevents the release of sex hormones, affecting blood flow to the penis. If you drink too much over a long period of time, alcohol can damage your testes. This reduces the amount of testosterone produced by the body, making it harder to get an erection. 

    The link between alcohol and impotence is clear. So if over Christmas you usually drink more than normal, this might impact your ability to get an erection. This is particularly the case if you’re drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week for a prolonged period. According to our research, almost a third (32%) of men are drinking more than the recommended units of alcohol each week. So why not try some drink free days or avoiding alcohol if you’re planning on having sex? 

    It’s also worth noting that some ED treatments, such as Viagra, will not work as well if you’ve had a lot to drink. 

    Diet and erectile dysfunction

    A healthy diet and lifestyle can help to prevent some of the physical causes of ED. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and being overweight are some of the key causes of ED. Eating a more healthy, balanced diet can help reduce your risk of, or improve these conditions. 

    Winter can mean lots of us end up exercising less with the cold weather and short days making the idea of going outside a lot less appealing. Meals tend to be heavier and richer, we may even eat more than usual.

    Over Christmas 39% of men state they exercise significantly less compared to the rest of the year. And nearly half (48%) admit they indulge in rich, heavier food significantly more during the festive season.

    It’s important that we enjoy this time of year and help look after our bodies in ways that feel good. Where possible eat a healthy balanced diet filled with seasonal veggies. And make sure you stay as active as you can. Even if it’s just a Christmas day walk to help your dinner settle. 

    But are there any particular foods for erectile dysfunction? There are studies that suggest that people low in folic acid are more likely to experience ED. So eating foods high in folic acid, such as spinach, broccoli, peas and brussel sprouts, may boost your levels. All the more reason to finish your sprouts on Christmas day!

    Can stress lead to erectile dysfunction?

    Stress and anxiety can cause ED. If you’re stressed it makes it hard for your body to focus on getting aroused and having sex. 

    According to our research, 23% of men worry about work over the festive season. Any stress on your relationship can affect your sex life. If you’ve experienced ED in the past this can also make you anxious. This is known as performance anxiety. This causes a further 22% of men worry about relationships more over the festive season.

    Christmas can be a stressful time for a lot of people and 2022 is even more so with the cost-of-living crisis. 46% of men stress about finances more over the festive season in comparison to any other time of year.

    If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you’re not alone. There are lots of ways you can tackle stress. The NHS has got some great ‘stress busters’. Don’t forget you can always speak to your GP. Charities like Mind have lots of really helpful resources and services to help you deal with stress, anxiety and mental wellbeing. 

    Managing ED


    If you’re experiencing ED there are lots of options to help you manage the condition. Many men try medication such as Viagra, Spedra and Cialis to help them gain and maintain an erection. Visit our online ED clinic to find out more about ED treatment options

    There are also other options for treating ED such as vacuum pumps, rings and for some men counselling may help treat the cause of ED. Find out more about alternative treatments for ED.

    Lifestyle changes

    As we’ve discussed already there are lots of lifestyle changes you can make, which might help your ED. From exercising more and eating better, to cutting down on alcohol and trying to limit stress, these changes might not only impact your erectile health, but your general wellbeing too. 

    Our study reveals 27% of men are planning to exercise more than they usually would during the festive season to help reduce the risk of experiencing ED. Whilst 17% said they are going to try and cut back on overindulging on food and alcohol to help minimise the risks. And a further 20% said they are planning to manage their stress better. 

    Despite ED more commonly affecting older men, those aged 45+ are less likley to make any changes to their lifestyle to reduce the risk of experiencing ED with 50% stating they won’t do anything. 

    Looking for erectile dysfunction treatment?

    Use our online service

    Censuswide conducted a survey on behalf of Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor and surveyed 1523 male respondents in the UK between 17.11.22 and 21.11.22. They were then given five questions of multiple choice to describe their experience with erectile dysfunction in relation to a number of different factors such as alcohol and stress.


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